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Tesla rolls out new incentives in China as price war escalates

BEIJING (Reuters) -Tesla unveiled new incentives, including insurance subsidies, on Friday to woo consumers in the world's largest auto market, where the U.S. electric vehicle giant is in a protracted price war against entrenched rivals such as BYD.

Customers picking up existing inventories of Model 3 sedans and Model Y SUVs by the end of March would be entitled to a maximum of 34,600 yuan ($4,807.76) worth of incentives, Tesla said in a post on its Weibo account.

Among the incentives are a 8,000 yuan discount in car insurance products with partnerships with Tesla, and a 10,000 yuan discount if the buyer chooses a change of paint.

Tesla also offers limited-time preferential financing plans that could save up to 16,600 yuan for purchases of Model Y.

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When asked about the amount of inventory Tesla had in China, a sales representative said it was limited, but declined to provide details.

Tesla didn’t respond to a request for comment.

In the face of slowing demand and rising competition, Tesla slashed prices on some Model 3 and Y cars in China in January and offered cash discounts for some Model Ys from Feb. 1.

Its biggest local rival BYD on Friday lowered the starting price of a new version of its Song Pro hybrid SUV by 15.4%.

BYD, which dethroned Tesla as the world's top EV maker in the fourth quarter, had responded with even bigger discounts on an array of new car versions in February.

Geely Auto, BYD's largest domestic rival, also cut the starting prices for its best-selling Galaxy L6 and L7 models by 15% and 9%, respectively, on Friday.

($1 = 7.1967 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(Reporting by Qiaoyi Li, Zhang Yan and Brenda Goh. Editing by Gerry Doyle, Kirsten Donovan)